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Page Contents: Learning to trust, then feeling abandoned when psychotherapy ends.                    


I have been working with my psychologist for five years. We have mostly been working on chronic health issues, depression, anxiety, emotional childhood neglect and trust issues. About 1 month ago I finally realized how truly isolated and disconnected I have made myself to avoid being hurt or abandoned. This has truly been the biggest breakthrough in psychotherapy and has taken so long because I kept testing my psychologist’s trust and I finally had to accept it in my life. After I finally committed to wanting to change this in my life, my psychologist suddenly told me she was no longer going to be able to do private practice (she also does in-patient) and is quitting at the end of the month. I once again feel abandoned. She is being great at helping through the “termination phase” and giving me some referrals but I don’t feel like I have another five years to commit to a psychologist before we finally get somewhere and I’m not sure I am going to be able to trust anybody else again. In the past 5 years I have been hospitalized 5 times for safety and I finally felt like these things were getting under control. But, since she told me she was quitting I have been diagnosed as bipolar, my mom has been in the hospital for 3 months and they can’t figure out what is wrong with her, I got a new job but now I am having problems with it, and 2 of my support groups suddenly stopped without warning. What am I supposed to do now???? I’m willing to try a new psychologist, but I know I’m going to have a very hard time opening up for a long time..... HELP!!!!

In your previous five years of psychotherapy you have learned more than you probably give yourself credit for. You have learned to trust someone who at first was a complete stranger. You have learned to talk about some of your most secret inner experiences. You have learned to recognize when you feel overwhelmed and to ask for help.

These are important discoveries.

Moreover, understand that, once discovered, these discoveries will not abandon you. Your learning to trust someone who at first was a complete stranger will not abandon you. Your learning to talk about some of your most secret inner experiences will not abandon you. Your learning to recognize when you feel overwhelmed and to ask for help will not abandon you.

Yes, life goes on, and trials and difficulties keep springing up like mushrooms after a rain. But, regardless of what happens next, cling to the belief that what you have learned already will not abandon you. Go, therefore, and find a new psychologist and continue your treatment, confident in what you have learned in the past five years.


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Raymond Lloyd Richmond, Ph.D.
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